Air Fryer Fried Chicken with Hot Honey


Frying chicken in an air fryer is low-fuss and yields wonderfully crispy results. For this recipe, you start with a hot sauce-buttermilk soak, and then coat the chicken thighs with a well-seasoned flour mixture. After a dip in beaten eggs and a final coating in the flour, the air fryer will take it from there. The finished chicken is paired with hot honey that's flavored with guajillo chile and apple cider vinegar. Any leftovers will be equally delicious served for lunch the next day.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken
Photo: Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Daley
Prep Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs


  • 8 (6-ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 2 cups whole buttermilk

  • ¼ cup hot sauce (such as Crystal)

  • 5 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • 1 ½ cups (about 6 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 large eggs, beaten

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 guajillo chile, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped

  • ½ cup honey

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar


  1. Place chicken, buttermilk, hot sauce, and 2 teaspoons of the salt in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

  2. Stir together flour, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and 3 teaspoons of the salt in a large shallow bowl. Place eggs in a separate shallow bowl.

  3. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl; transfer chicken to a rimmed baking sheet or a large plate. Working with 1 thigh at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, turning to coat and pressing to adhere; gently shake excess flour mixture into bowl. Place thigh in bowl with eggs, turn to coat. Return chicken to flour mixture; gently turn to coat and place on a separate baking sheet or plate. Repeat coating process with the remaining thighs.

  4. Lightly coat an air fryer basket with cooking spray. Add 4 thighs to basket, skin side down, and coat top with cooking spray. Cook at 375°F for 12 minutes. Flip chicken over and coat top with cooking spray. Continue cooking at 375°F until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of meat registers 165°F, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat cooking process with remaining 4 chicken thighs.

  5. While chicken cooks, heat chile in a small saucepan over medium, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in honey, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring mixture to a simmer over low, stirring occasionally (honey will foam and bubble). Remove saucepan from heat; set aside at room temperature to allow honey mixture to infuse, about 5 minutes.

  6. To serve, drizzle hot honey mixture evenly over chicken thighs.

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